Failing secondary school closed as teachers stage fourth strike

The Birmingham Mail is reporting that a local school was closed yesterday as staff stage a strike over fears it is to be converted into an academy.

Teachers took to the picket lines outside Small Heath School this morning – marking the fourth day of strike action to have taken place at the school since May. 

Staff belonging to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and National Union of Teachers (NUT) are taking park in the strike at the local authority-controlled school.

The Waverley Road school – previously rated “outstanding” was plunged into special measures by Ofsted in January, months after it was given a clean bill of health during the Trojan Horse scandal. 

Inspectors found “tensions” between the leadership team and longer-serving staff members were “damaging the school’s progress and capacity to improve”.

Former headteacher Shanaz Khan went on sick leave and did not return at the start of the new academic year in September.

Tony Wilson was appointed interim head and the recruitment process for a permanent appointment is set to begin after Christmas.

In a joint statement, the union members said: “After much deliberation, and with a great deal of regret, members have taken the difficult decision to take a fourth day of strike action in opposition to any proposed conversion to academy status and consequential threat to (staff) terms and conditions….”

A joint statement by headteacher Mr Wilson and the board’s chairman Mr Parker on the school’s website added: “The reasons given by the unions for taking industrial action is the assumed threat to staff pay and conditions that would result from Small Heath School becoming an academy.

“We should like to emphasise that the situation is unchanged from when the unions last took strike action in October; that is there is currently no proposal to make Small Heath School an academy and, if and when there is, a consultation process will take place…”

More at: Failing Small Heath School closed as teachers stage fourth strike

 

However strongly the staff may feel about the school possibly becoming an academy, is it really appropriate to keep striking without there even being a proposal on the table?

Or am I missing something? 

Please give us your insights in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Categories: Academies, Local authorities, Secondary and Teaching.

Comments

  1. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove If that’s all true – it’s utterly ridiculous. Striking just in case something might be proposed in the future… madness

  2. TW

    Sounds like they don’t trust the governors.  As they may and should have contact with governors perhaps they know more than they can say.

  3. wasateacher

    The current legislation on converting schools into academies is a bully
    boys’ charter and that is, presumably, why the unions are taking this
    action.
    Unfortunately, it is clear from around the country that a school can become an academy without the teachers being involved or informed until too late.  It is also the case that parents also are often only “consulted” after the decision has been made to convert the school.  Once the school has become an academy, in the majority of cases, parents and staff have almost no say.

    The Government will tell us that academisation is the road to improving schools.  Research tells us that this is absolutely not the case.  The other aspect which should worry all is the number of schools which are being handed from one academy trust to another (often with a change of name and another change of expensive uniform).  Education should not be a commodity to be handed from one dealer to the next to profit from (and there are profits being made).

  4. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove Reminds me of my days in the People’s Republic of Brent. Good people doing crazy stuff for crazy reasons…

  5. gasman_g SchoolsImprove In May 2014 Ofsted monitoring found a well-managed and successful school.  But this changed when a new head arrived in September and imposed a different regime which undermined the atmosphere of trust.  Why change something which was working well?
    Since then the school’s been judged Inadequate and an Interim Executive Board imposed.  Academy conversion is inevitable not a possibility.

  6. ATLmglam

    MerthyrNASUWT Absolutely. That school had exhausted all options and refused to engage; sadly, that’s very often the real cause.

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